VVV-WIT-04: an extragalactic variable source caught by the VVV Survey

Roberto K. Saito, Dante Minniti, Valentin D. Ivanov, Nicola Masetti, Maria Gabriela Navarro, Roberto Cid Fernandes, Daniel Ruschel-Dutra, Leigh C. Smith, Philip W. Lucas, Carlos Gonzalez-Fernandez, Rodrigo Contreras Ramos

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We report the discovery of VVV-WIT-04, a near-infrared (near-IR) variable source towards the Galactic disc located ∼0.2 arcsec apart from the position of the radio source PMN J1515−5559. The object was found serendipitously in the near-IR data of the ESO public survey VISTA Variables in the Vía Láctea (VVV). Our analysis is based on variability, multicolour, and proper motion data from VVV and VVV eXtended surveys, complemented with archive data at longer wavelengths. We suggest that VVV-WIT-04 has an extragalactic origin as the near-IR counterpart of PMN J1515−5559. The K s-band light curve of VVV-WIT-04 is highly variable and consistent with that of an optically violent variable quasar. The variability in the near-IR can be interpreted as the redshifted optical variability. Residuals to the proper motion vary with the magnitude suggesting contamination by a blended source. Alternative scenarios, including a transient event such as a nova or supernova, or even a binary microlensing event, are not in agreement with the available data.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1171-1178
Number of pages8
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Issue number1
Early online date20 Sept 2019
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 20 Sept 2019


  • astro-ph.GA
  • Surveys
  • Infrared: stars
  • Radio continuum: galaxies
  • Radio continuum: general
  • Stars: individual: VVV-WIT-04
  • Catalogues


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